2018 Crime Fiction, Booze and Music

A Christmas roundup of crime fiction, booze and music.

BOOKS.  A little late for Christmas, but why give them away?  Read them yourself.

From The Rap Sheet, edited and written mostly by J. Kingston Pierce, some 2018 favorites: Part I here  and Part II here.  And even a few more lists here.

From Vulture, here are The 10 Best Crime Books of 2018 Opium smugglers, mad scientists, Instagram socialites, and serial killers fictional and real.

Then, Crimereads gives us . . .

The 20 Best Crime Novels of 2018

From across the water, the Telegraph lays out The best thrillers and crime fiction of 2018, and the Irish Times lists The best crime fiction of 2018.

Eager to read.

A few of my favorites from this year:

Lou Berney, November Road

Tana French, The Witch Elm

Jane Harper, The Dry

Joe Ide, Righteous

J. Todd Scott, The Far Empty [technically not 2018, but I like it]


BOOZE. There is still time for Christmas beverages.  Here from Liquor.com is a list of . . .

11 Essential Cocktails for Your December Parties

Also from Liquor.com is a Christmas punch:

Christmas Punch

At the award-winning Greenhouse Tavern in Cleveland, lead bartender Dave Taha has created the ultimate holiday tipple that tastes good with or without booze. “This one reminds me of Christmas at Grandma and Grandpa’s,” says Taha. “The fresh ginger gives it a bit of zing, and the tart cherry adds depth and balance, while the allspice and nutmeg lend their holiday spirit.” Whether you decide to drink it clean or spiked, it’s surely going to get you in the festive spirit.

Ho. Ho. Ho.

For Christmas morning, a milk punch [from the archives]:

Milk Punch for Christmas Morning (via Garden & Gun)

MUSIC.  I will limit myself to three options this Christmas.  Where to end such a list is always difficult, but where to begin is easy: the choir of King’s College, Cambridge, and a Service of Nine Lessons and Carols:

For a quiet moment, try jazz pianist David Ian here . . .

. . . and here:

I have always liked Sharon Jones and The Dap Kings, and 2015’s It’s a Holiday Soul Party, and especially “Ain’t No Chimneys In The Projects”:

Here is the whole album:

It’s not really music, but I have always enjoyed A Child’s Christmas in Wales by Welsh poet Dylan Thomas.

Thomas wrote often-impenetrable poetry, and drank himself to death early, but A Child’s Christmas has a sweetness that nips at the edge of loss:

By the Yuletide fire.

Finally, in a confluence of the basics of culture — food, warmth, and memories of the 1970s — we can now have fireplace logs that smell like Kentucky Fried Chicken:

The chicken chain announced that it would debut the KFC 11 Herbs & Spices Firelog. When lit, the log will smell like the chain’s fried chicken, it said.

Shoppers can buy a log for $18.99 at KFCFirelogs.com starting Thursday.

“At KFC, we have always been proud of our role in bringing loved ones together at the dinner table around a bucket of our world-famous fried chicken,” Andrea Zahumensky, the chief marketing officer of KFC US, said in a statement. “Now, this winter we’re bringing all the things we love — family, friends and fried chicken — together around the fire with our scented firelog.”

Merry Christmas.